Changes of dung beetle communities from rainforests towards agroforestry systems and annual cultures in Sulawesi (Indonesia)

Authors: Shahabuddin1; Schulze, Christian2; Tscharntke, Teja3

Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 4, April 2005 , pp. 863-877(15)

Publisher: Springer

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Little is known about how tropical land-use systems contribute to the conservation of functionally important insect groups, including dung beetles. In a study at the margin of Lore Lindu National Park (a biodiversity hotspot in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia) dung-beetle communities were sampled in natural forest, young secondary forest, agroforestry systems (cacao plantations with shade trees) and annual cultures (maize fields), each with four replicates (n = 16 sites). At each site we used 10 pitfall traps, baited with cattle dung, along a 100 m transect for six 3-day periods. The number of trapped specimens and species richness at the natural forest sites was higher than in all land-use systems, which did not significantly differ. Each land-use system contained, on average, 75% of the species richness of the natural forest, thereby indicating their importance for conservation. However, a two-dimensional scaling plot based on NESS indices (m = 6) indicated distinct dung beetle communities for both forest types, while agroforestry systems and annual cultures exhibited a pronounced overlap. Mean body size of dung beetles was not significantly influenced by land-use intensity. Five of the six most abundant dung beetle species were recorded in all habitats, whereas the abundance of five other species was significantly related to habitat type. Mean local abundance and number of occupied sites were closely correlated, further indicating little habitat specialisation. The low dung beetle diversity (total of 18 recorded species) may be due to the absence of larger mammals in Sulawesi during historical times, even though Sulawesi is the largest island of Wallacea. In conclusion, the dung beetle fauna of the lower montane forest zone in Central Sulawesi appears to be relatively robust to man-made habitat changes and the majority of species did not exhibit strong habitat preferences.

Keywords: Biodiversity; Body size; Cacao; Conservation; Habitat specialisation; Land-use intensity; Maize; Secondary forests

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tadulako, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2: Agroecology, Georg-August University, Waldweg 26, D-37073, Göttingen, Germany, 3: Agroecology, Georg-August University, Waldweg 26, D-37073, Göttingen, Germany, Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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